Mavs sink the Fleet; Houston bludgeons ACA

by Cameron Irvine

San Diego (1-2) limited Portland to just 114 yards of offense in the Fleet's home opener, a 23-3 loss. The Mavericks did it with pressure (3 sacks), forcing turnovers (two interceptions) and holding the Fleet to just seven first downs. Jonny Pichler paced the offense with 210 through the air and both Hunter McWaffle and Rob Noel ran for 60 yards on the ground. San Diego dominated time of possession, with a whopping 72 offensive plays compared to the Fleet's 39. Portland (0-3) has scored just one touchdown in its first three games

Alamo City (2-1) will be healing up all week after top defender Jay Mart and quarterback Ace Fenech went down with injuries in Houston (3-0), where the HeadHunters held on for a 10-7 victory improving to 3-0 - the first team to reach the mark in the league this season. Houston won the game without G.P. Wells, who also left the game with an injury. Houston took the lead on a Tybeerious Bovine touchdown just before the end of the first half; both teams played a scoreless second half. D.R. Sim racked up 108 yards receiving in the game while the Artillery's Reign Reaux had 14 solo tackles, six more than any other player. Houston intercepted Fenech on the play he was injured, then possessed the ball the final six minutes of the game.

In a quarterbacks duel, the Jacksonville Kings (2-1) outlasted the Indianapolis Ramblers (1-2) despite losing OJ Bruin to an injury themselves. The Ramblers' Colin Pierce shined throwing for 335 yards and two touchdowns but had to move the ball mostly on his own - the run game contributed just 22 yards on 16 rushes. Jeff Banfield has become a bonified WR1-A in Indy this year, once again dominating to the tune of 7-164-1. While Indianapolis failed to establish a run, Jacksonville ran 46 times with four different rushers paced by Sheppard Vakarian's 73 yards. Conner Weston once more led the receivers with 143 yards and a score. Indy's Jack Russell racked up 16 solo tackles in the loss. 

Rounding out Saturday night, Denver (2-1) laid down an impressive defensive performance in a 10-3 win over Louisiana (1-2), capped off with a critical goal line stand on fourth & goal from the 1 inside five minutes remaining, following a muffed punt recovered by the Revolution to set them up for the potential tie. Baylee O'Shaughnessy crushed with 126 yards on just 17 carries, arguably the best performance by an individual back this season. Louisiana wasn't without the injury bug, losing star back Duane Sammons on his second carry of the game. The Revs struggled to push the ball downfield, averaging just 5.9 yards per pass attempt. 

On Friday, Minnesota (1-1) topped Mexico City (1-1) 27-20 and Arizona (2-1) rolled in the second half over Charleston 30-10. The Predators led Arizona at the half 10-9, but were outscored 21-0 in the final 20 minutes. The Predators have scored 20 points or less in each of their first three games this season (0-3). The Aztecs and Legend exploded for 28 combined points in the fourth quarter, but despite Aztec quarterback Jordan Sipe's best efforts to make up for three interceptions, the Legend's late onside kick recovery helped close out their first win of the season.